It was the night before the Women’s March, and I kept knitting

This was written on Friday night, January 20th — only hours before the historic Women’s March on Washington on January 21st.

I am knitting. I don’t know how to knit.

*Cast on fifty stitches.*

I started teaching myself today with a morning spent online, pulling out sloppy stitches and counting new ones until my hands were sore; the earthy scent of freshly spun and dyed wool permeating my fingertips, as it has for so many generations of women before.

The wool is rosy pink. I bought it at the gift shop downtown while chatting with the two older ladies behind the counter. They asked if I was buying it to make a hat for the march on Saturday. I told them yes. They told me they would miss the class of the current first family, and they were worried going forward — how could we drop this low as a country? I said that I didn’t know, saddened by the specter of the bleakness that so palpably spanned generations.


*Knit one, knit two, purl one, purl two. Repeat for 4 ½ inches.*

My wonderful boyfriend just got home from an 11 hour workday. He is overseeing the completion of homework, feeding our two young daughters a dinner of scrambled eggs, toast, and fruit, guiding them through the seemingly never-ending bedtime process of teeth-brushing, water-sipping, and story-telling.

And, I am still knitting. I am knitting so that they will have concrete visual proof of the power of organizing and uniting. I will hold their hands as we march towards a goal with thousands of women, men, boys, and girls — and they will remember this. They will not be afraid to make their voices heard.

*Knit one row, purl one row. Repeat for 10 inches.*

I am knitting because of the cutting email I received tonight from my staunchly pro-life mother, in which she detailed the ways that my intention to attend our local march has let her down. She harkened back to my Catholic upbringing, pointing out how the platform’s stances regarding reproductive rights and marriage equality clash with those of the Church.

She told me how my family is concerned for me due to my unpopularly liberal views. I think about calling my dad, who has been split up from my mother for my entire life and is closer to sharing my leftie sensibilities than anyone else in the family — but ultimately decide to spare him the drama and frustration. I cry, and my entire being shakes with anger and grief.

So, I knit, because I don’t know what else to do.


*Knit one, knit two. Purl one, purl two. Repeat for 4 ½ inches. *

I complain to my boyfriend that my hat is turning out to look less than spectacular. There are open gaps sprinkled across the admittedly easy pattern, and stitches have somehow been added and dropped along the way. I frown at the pink mass evolving from my needles, wondering out loud how an odd number of stitches from the last row has somehow turned into an even count now.

*Cast off.*

“Screw it, he said. “So it doesn’t look perfect. But you know what? You are making a beautiful keepsake to pass down to your girls. They won’t remember the details of how it looks, but they will remember watching their strong mama teach herself a new skill, and the way she used it to take a stand for what is right. They will remember that you did that because you are a woman, and you can do anything you put your mind to. That is so much more valuable than perfect kitty ears on a cute little hat.

*Wear hat. Smash patriarchy.*

And so, I am knitting.


Whitney Carroll McKinnon lives in Vermont with her two little ladies and very handsome partner. She can often be found sipping pink wine with a cat on her lap and the Patriots on TV, and also on Twitter.